Ask Gwen: Ending Marriage


broken heartMy question relates to information you provide about ending a marriage, “If there is conflict and tension, or cold silence, it is time to move on. Such an environment is not healthy for children or adults. Being angry and upset, waiting and waiting for a partner to change is a recipe for misery. Years and years of living like that will certainly affect one’s health.”

My marital relationship has not thrived. I have changed and grown a tremendous amount, although this has not been the case for my spouse. He is not abusive, just a regular, stable kind of person that does not like risks or change. Its like “he sits on the fence” all the time, which is frustrating to me because I would like a more intimate, passionate relationship (inside and outside of the bedroom). We have gone to couples counseling with little success. Counseling provided feedback that confirmed our differences (I am more of a relationship risk taker and he is not), additional feedback stated that we needed to put more fun back into our relationship. We try things for a while and then revert back to the status quo. I am at a crossroads … do I remain with the status quo or do we end things and look for similar thinking soul mates?

Passionate soul in an unpassionate marriage.

Gwen’s Answer:

You have let him know the marriage is not satisfying to you. Counselling has confirmed the differences, and he tries for a while, but cannot maintain the change that you require in order to feel fulfilled. When one spouse has a growth spurt and the other does not, this can result in a growing apart. It seems to have come down to a question of whether there is enough that is good in the relationship to warrant your overlooking what is absent. I often ask clients to think about this question: If you were single, and knowing what you know about your partner, would you want to establish a relationship with him? If the answer is no, then you have to ask yourself if you are willing to spend the rest of your life with someone you would not be interested in dating.

When the differences are significant, and one is trying to get the other to change, neither can really be happy. Ultimately, it may be best to move on: for you to find someone who shares your passion, and for him to find a companion who is comfortable sharing the fence.

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